5 Apps That Will Get You To The Gym

Refinery29 is participating in First Lady Michelle Obama's #GimmeFive challenge. To learn more, click here.

It’s been three months, and the shine, promise, and hope for a fitter new year is waning — if not completely evaporated. You’ve still got your gym membership, but ugh, it’s just such a chore to drag yourself down there. (This Game of Thrones marathon isn’t going to watch itself!) If you really do want to hit the gym more regularly, but you just need a kick in the pants to get there, there’s help. We’ve rounded up five apps designed to motivate you to get your workout started — because, let’s face it, once you’ve got your spandex on and you’re out the door, you’re going to work up a sweat. It’s just, you know, the getting-into-the-spandex part.

As part of Michelle Obama’s #GimmeFive challenge, we present you with five different smartphone options to push, prod, and inspire you to get up and get moving. You’ll feel better for it afterwards (exercise is shown to boost your mood and lower depression), and your body will thank you for your efforts in the months and years ahead. So, grab your phone, download one (or all) of these fitness-motivating apps, and go work up a sweat.
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Photo: Courtesy Coach.me.
Nothing keeps you accountable for workouts like having a coach. Coach.me (free on iOS and Android) offers different levels of “coaching” depending on your particular needs. In the basic version of the app, you first select goals like “Get Fit” to add to your dashboard. Then, you can select a particular plan: Cardio, Strength, Yoga, or just plain Exercise. You can set a target for how often you want to achieve that goal each week, and set reminders. When you’ve completed your exercise session for the day, you get a big, satisfying, green check mark to show it’s been completed. You can use the power of the Coach.me community to help you continue your progress and answer any (muscle-)burning workout-related questions.

If you really want to get serious, you can pay for a $15/week subscription for a real coach who will chat one-on-one with you through the app, offering support and tips to help you reach your fitness goals. You can use the coach alone, or also buy a training plan through the app that the coach can help push you to complete. A real coach can cost upwards of $200/month, so at less than $100/month, Coach.me’s option is a steal — a steal that’s just expensive enough that you won’t blow off your gym sessions.
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Photo: Courtesy Pact.
If money motivates you, but you don’t need the guidance of an actual coach, Pact (iOS and Android), lets you make a weekly commitment — a bet, really — that you’ll be able to complete your workout. Otherwise, you pay up, and other Pact members reap the reward.

Here’s how it works. You make an in-app commitment to work out more. A gym workout, a 30-plus-minute bike ride, a run, or a 10,000 step day all count towards your goal. Log your workouts, and your commitment money remains yours. If you use the app diligently (and don’t skip cardio classes), you can slowly earn some dough from others who’ve fallen off the path. One app reviewer earned $60 over roughly eight months — it’s not a fortune, but it’s free money for you sticking with your commitment.

Pact has a 92% success rate, which would indicate that, yep, if you pony up some dough, you’re not likely to skip your squat session.
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Photo: Courtesy Happify.
It’s hard to drag yourself to the gym when you’d rather be curled up in bed or drowning your sorrows in Ben and Jerry’s. Turn those negative thoughts around using Happify (free on iOS). Happify is an app designed to teach you skills to improve your overall happiness.

After you fill out a survey that assesses your personality and what could help you more fully enjoy life, the app teaches you how to do just that through a series of games, activities, and quizzes that you complete to reduce stress, Happify also has a Daily section that surfaces uplifting articles, and a community tab for seeing the positive moments shared by other users of Happify.

We gave the app a shot, and after a stressful day, it really did help lift our moods and highlight the positive moments we hadn’t appreciated. Some of us even woke up the next day with “Hakuna Matata” stuck in our heads. Now that’s the way to kick off an early-morning workout.
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Photo: Courtesy FIT Radio.
FIT Radio
But, not everyone is fueled by songs sung by animated warthogs and meerkats. If other music is your motivator, FIT Radio (free on iOS and Android) should be your go-to for kick-starting your workout regimen. FIT Radio offers more than 25 stations of customized, fitness-focused playlists, organized by workout type, genre, and BPM (so the beat of the music matches the pace of your workout). Turn on a playlist and get in the groove.

Sure, you could also just use Spotify or Rdio. But, you’ll eventually get bored of your own music choices unless you’re constantly digging for new options. FIT, on the other hand, has premade playlists that are regularly updated and available for $36/year ($3/month).
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Photo: Courtesy StickK.
StickK (free on iOS and Android) is all about setting goals and actually achieving them — by signing a virtual contract.

After creating an account in the app and logging in (a process that is slightly more cumbersome than in other apps) you tap to add a “commitment” such as exercising regularly or maintaining your weight. Next, you start writing your commitment. For example, you can detail how many days per week you’re going to commit to exercising — plus how many weeks, when this goal starts, and how often you aim to report back to the app on your progress. From there, you can choose to put money at stake. If you don’t acheive your goal, that money goes to a charity or a friend — or, for even stronger motivation, an anti-charity or foe (really).

If you don’t choose to back your commitment with your wallet, you still get an extra means of support in the next step, which lets you select a “referee” for your contract. This can be yourself, or you can select someone else (your partner, roommate, parent, or sibling); this person is in charge of checking your progress reports and making sure you really do stick with them. From there, the app is super-simple. It’s up to you to remember to hit the treadmill and log your progress in the app’s commitment journal. After all, you’ve made a written promise to work out. You wouldn’t break a promise, would you?
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Like this post? There's more. Check out all of our responses to First Lady's Michelle Obama's #GimmeFive Challenge, from recipes to workout roundups. And, here is our challenge to you: Head to Twitter and Instagram to tell us your healthy moves with #GimmeFive and be sure to tag @Refinery29.

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